Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008

Some photos of our Christmas day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Nocturnal friends

One recent week, my girls deduced that Santa, the Aardvark, fairies, and the Easter Bunny are all homeys. They don't share the same pad, but the girls know that the foursome are down with each other because they are all nocturnal (which was the word of the day). Obviously, anyone that is routinely awake a night will be friends with everyone else awake at night.

Three of the amigos are in a related line of work. Santa brings toys to children, and the Aardvark takes away toys that have not been put away. The girls have decided that the Aardvark is one of Santa's suppliers, and I have to tip my hat to the cost-effectiveness of the relationship. The Easter Bunny is also in the gifting gig, except he deals chocolate and candy. I don't know what the fairies do, perhaps just live off of some inheritance--they seem to have lots of parties and teas. Maybe the parties double as kitchenware or beauty-product marketing? As a guy, I'm definitely not in the know about fairies.

Speaking of nocturnal, Genevieve has been trying to go to sleep for two-and-a-half hours. I rarely have insomnia now, but I remember many nights as a child when it was difficult to get to sleep. The unconsciousness of sleep was merely an opportunity to miss something that might happen. Now, I look upon getting to bed late as something I'll pay for over the course of the next day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I stand corrected, sort of

Okay, okay, I didn't know this, but I didn't receive any comments from my legions of readers, either (all 5 of you). It seems that there is an aardvark more famous than our own nocturnal toy-snatching aardvark. The eponymous subject of the animated television series Arthur and the series of books by Marc Brown is an anthropomorphic aardvark.

Unlike many other monsters they've heard about, they haven't had the benefit of seeing a picture of one in a story picture book. I believe this is because Aardvarks aren't in either the first or second ring of anthropomorphized animals approved for use in children's story books. From entry of February 9, 2008.
I predict that further viewing or reading of Arthur will not pollute their mythology of aardvarks, however. They've seen some of the Arthur episodes, and haven't made the leap, and why would they? Arthur looks more like some generic rodent than an aardvark. It's laughable, I tell you. Technically speaking, my above statement on aardvarks and children's literature is apparently not true, but I won't lose sleep over it. Our aardvark is way more interesting than Arthur, anyway. Not to be a name-dropper, but did you know that our aardvark hangs with Santa Claus? What's Arthur got on that, huh? That his mom knew Fred Rogers? Nice, but not in the same league.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Green is good

No, you can't have more broccoli until you eat your....

A sign of how much our children like vegetables (or is it just that we keep them hungry? nah!) is demonstrated by the fact that they can be bribed by vegetables. Reesa was recently bribed off of the television by mommy...

"Reesa, do you want a green bean?" asked She-Who-Has-Our-Children-Begging-For-Tofu.


"Well, you can have one if you quickly get in the car so we can get Daddy and Genevieve at the bus!"

"Okay!" And off trots the three-year-old to the car to claim her green prize.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My favorite gift

Christmas morning started at o'dark-thirty when Genevieve came in and announced, "It's Christmas!"

UGH. "But it's still the middle of the night," say She-Who-Thinks-Quickly. "Come cuddle with us for a few minutes."

Ha, ha! She fell for it. Staying up until 10 pm on Christmas eve and not "letting" them nap meant that I had two tired girls, and Genevieve fell back asleep until...

...8:03! Yikes! Has the babe made his appearance in our living room? Did we miss it? No, I'm just in time...

As I was snapping pictures of the happy couple and the blessed babe, the remainder of the family gathered in the living room and beheld the gifts. Genevieve was the first to open her stocking, but the rest of us had to take care of a variety of other things before opening our stockings. We told Genevieve that she could start eating the food from the stocking (orange, mixed nuts, granola bar and pink pudding), but to wait to open the gifts until the rest of the family could join her. From the other end of the house I heard the front door squeak, so I came down the hall in time to hear the main door close. Genevieve, with her hand on the doorknob said, "I just said thank you to Santa!"

Last night she had been 'talking' to Santa on her way home from Grandma Lois' by shouting messages up to the sky. Messages such as:

"Santa! Don't go to Genevieve's and Reesa's house yet! We're not there yet!"

"Santa! It's Genevieve! Wait awhile before you go to Genevieve and Reesa's house, okay?! We'll be sleeping soon, but wait until we get home to get to sleep, okay?!"

That was last night. This morning, I presume any neighbors outside within a block in the 4 degree weather heard her shout her thanks.

Genevieve reads a card on a gift. "Who. Who. Who."

"That's close. It says 'Ho! Ho! Ho!'"


I feel blessed today that my children are thrilled and thankful for all of the gifts they receive, be it clothing, games, or food. That is my favorite gift of Christmas this year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Paper clip fun

My girls believe me to be a magician and a clown. I am a clown for the outrageous claims and statements with which I will test them ("when I was three years old, my momma left me floating in a basket on the river, and I was found by wolves, and they raised me. A-OOOOOoooooooooo! That's why I have such poor table manners.")

I am a magician through the proper combination of angular momentum, gravitational acceleration and friction, employing string, 3 paper clips, string and a ring of keys. My 3 and 5-year old found this to be fascinating, and after watching me do it, wanted to try in on their own. With a steadying adult hand on the pencil and a chair for height, they could each experience success.

The illustration here is from a Danish website that explains the experiment (they also have other demonstration experiments). I used keys -- they use a coffee cup for the drama of it. Hold the pencil steadily high enough above the floor with one hand, and the paper clip end of the string in the other hand. Release the paper clips (not the pencil!), and watch the paper clips wrap around the pencil before the keys/coffee cup hits the ground. Fun for all, and simple too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How to play buses for power

I am noticing the effect my attitude has on me when dealing with Genevieve. I started the pickup at pre-school in a good mood, due to the fact that we had plenty of time to make it to the bus. But then she lost her "gold coin" and we spent some time looking for it, a calculated plan and within the time we had. Now we were out of slack time, but I had honored her wish to find her toy (we found the coin).

At this juncture, she dawdles. Walks over to her friends and converse and say goodbye, even though she had been saying goodbye for fifteen minutes. Doesn't "hear" me asking her to come with me, that we needed to get going. Finally comes, but announces that she is hot in her coat and must have water now. Walks away from me again. Our walk time to the bus is now one minute longer than when the bus is scheduled to arrive.

At this point, I simply say "that's it," chase her down, pick her up, tuck her under my arm, and leave the preschool room with her flailing and crying. I drag her by the hand all the way to the bus, which we barely make. I am not a happy camper. It is 5 degree wind chill and I don't want to wait an extra hour. I am not having a successful daddy moment. She's got me right where she wants me -- she is winning the power struggle.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Exasperation or melty cuteness

Like death and taxes, another sure thing in life is that a consequence will occur if mommy or daddy start a countdown and get to zero before the child does what they were asked to do. That's what our children know.

Sometimes, it would be better if daddy had a countdown for himself. Last night, sick and tired of having to repeat myself, I left Genevieve alone in her room only moments after sitting to settle her down for the night. It was the right action for me to take, but I did it with exasperation, so it wasn't exactly the right attitude to do it in. 5-4-3-2-1-breathe in and out, that could've been more helpful.

On the other hand, my attitude is swayed by the cuteness of Reesa's greetings and play. She is giggly to see me at the end of the workday, and her imaginary play has innocence and bare-naked id wrapped up in a 3-year old voice with 5-year old sentences. I try to treat them equitably, and I have to admit that it is difficult to avoid giving Reesa just a little more leeway for her behavior. So, when I find three dozen Lite-Brite pieces in my bed, courtesy of that little pixie who was storing them there for her sister's upcoming birthday, I think "what a pain in the butt -- but how sweet she is to think of her sister!"

See? Older daughter, exasperation. Younger daughter, melty cuteness. Today, that's the state of fairness and equitability.